BOSTON (AP) — Varsity esports teams are becoming increasingly common on college campuses as more schools tap into the rising popularity of competitive gaming.

Experts say 50 U.S. colleges have formed varsity gaming teams that offer at least partial scholarships over the past three years, and many have hired coaches and analysts like other sports teams.

Michael Brooks is executive director of the National Association of Collegiate eSports. He says it has grown "dramatically" and caught organizers off guard.

The success of professional esports has spurred many smaller schools to start varsity teams as a way to boost enrollment numbers.

Among those with new teams is the College of St. Joseph, a school of 260 students in Vermont. The school's athletic director says "nearly every kid on campus wants to be a part of this."